Holy Week, Questions and Passions

Holy Week is the name which has been given to the seven days before Easter. It arrives, with all of its passions and its questions as we relive the events of Jesus’s last week. A good man, misunderstood and condemned unjustly, feared by the powerful, is crucified. We wonder why God allows the defeat of good by evil. We ask, why it is that the wicked seem to prosper and why the good die out of season. Holy Week reminds us of the dark side of life. From Sunday’s palm branches and praises to Thursday’s trial and Friday’s hastily carried out crucifixion, we wander through the days frightened by the evil in our world. And yes, we ponder the evil even in ourselves.

When we are honest with ourselves, we recognize that we too, have been among those who hailed Jesus on Sunday, but found ourselves cowering in the background later in the week, or worse still, were among those crying, “Crucify Him.” Luke 23:21 The resolution of Sunday is quickly forgotten among the cares and concerns of our daily lives. Forgetting Jesus is easier than following him, to call out “Crucify him,” than to stand with Jesus in the crucial moments of decision. As the disciples slipped away, denying any knowledge of Jesus, we too slip away, afraid to acknowledge who is Lord of our lives.

Certainly those first disciples must have carried a heavy load of guilt and shame, promising loyalty, but losing their way so quickly. God, however, refuses to leave them there, for Sunday arrives and with it resurrection joy. Then Jesus goes, searching for those fickle disciples, recruiting them all over again, trusting that they will carry out the mission he’s given them.

This same story has continued through all the centuries since. We say “yes” to God, then run as fast and as furiously as we can away. Yet, even in our fickleness, through our failures and in countless detours God chases after us  . . .  To reach us with the assurance that we are God’s precious children . . . God’s love for us is eternal.